INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 3, 2020) — Chandler Smith put on a clinic in front of the first crowd since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, winning the ARCA Menards Series Calypso Lemonade 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway Park, defending his accomplishment from last year.
After starting from the pole, Smith led 162 of the 200 laps after taking the top spot from Ty Gibbs. This marks Smith’s ninth career ARCA Menards Series national tour win, and his second at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. This also marks the 70th win for Venturini Motorsports.
This was Smith’s third race of the season after winning in Phoenix, then returning to action in the number 20 machine at Pocono, where he finished second.
While Smith was happy with the win, waving a Venturini flag to the crowd after climbing from his car, he acknowledged that he has work to do, giving the lion’s share of the credit to his crew.
“I was just running for all it was worth, to be honest with you,” Smith said in victory lane. “It was a hot night, being my second or third race of the year… second one back. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m in the shape where I need to be but hats off to my JBL crew, they did a heck of a job recovering from practice… I’m proud of these guys. Thanks to General Tire for holding up… these tires were really good. I’m just glad we’re back in victory lane.”
Smith passed Ty Gibbs on lap 39 after Gibbs led the first 38. Afterward, Smith told his crew that he was sorry for the way he passed Gibbs, dooring him in turn three. Smith went on to go virtually unchallenged from there, leading the rest of the way.
How did he do it?
“Just running laps, honestly just like practice, logging laps,” he said.
And Now… The Race Rundown:
Points leader Michael Self was fastest in practice, but was only able to clock in the third best lap in qualifying, as the pole went to Chandler Smith, with Ty Gibbs starting on the outside of the front row.
At the start of the race, Ty Gibbs quickly took the lead, then led through the first 38 laps.
On lap 39, Smith went low on Gibbs into turn three, dooring Gibbs slightly, but making the pass and taking the lead.
The first of two competition yellows flew on lap 71, allowing the field its first opportunity to pit for tires, fuel and adjustments. As is standard practice in 2020, the period was a 5 minute controlled caution, and drivers were able to retain their spots for the restart.
Smith was able to easily pull away on the lap 74 restart, but only after needing a push start from his crew after his pit stop.
Lap 79 saw the save of the night, as Taylor Gray was turned sideways coming off of turn four by Michael Self.
On lap 88, Ty Gibbs dropped off the pace and pitted, his night ending with an issue in the car’s alternator system.
Lap 129 saw Gray and Self come to blows in turn two while battling for second. The pair made contact, both slid sideways, and both made slight contact with the wall. Gray remained stopped, bringing out the yellow, while Self was able to continue… losing second place to Sam Mayer.
The second competition yellow came and went at lap 141, and afterward, Smith was able to build a lead of almost three seconds on the field.
On lap 164, Mayer passed Self for second, and began to track down the leader.
Michael Self was forced to pit on lap 179 after being passed by Hailie Deegan for third. Self had a flat left rear tire.
Meanwhile, Mayer continued to draw in on leader Smith, coming to within a half second with five laps to go, but ultimately Smith began to once again pull away, winning by .899 seconds.
Unofficial Results of the Calypso Lemonade 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway:
|1.||20 – Chandler Smith|
|2.||21 – Sam Mayer|
|3.||4 – Hailie Deegan|
|4.||17 – Taylor Gray|
|5.||46 – Thad Moffitt|
|6.||1 – Max McLaughlin|
|7.||23 – Brett Holmes|
|8.||25 – Michael Self|
|9.||32 – Howie DiSavino III|
|10.||42 – Kyle Sieg|
|11.||69 – Brain Finney|
|12.||22 – Derek Griffith|
|13.||91 – Justin Carroll|
|14.||15 – Drew Dollar|
|15.||18 – Ty Gibbs|
|16.||10 – Ryan Huff|
|17.||48 – Brad Smith|
|18.||12 – Dick Doheny|
|19.||11 – Mike Basham|
|20.||06 – Tim Richmond|
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
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